Photo of Professor Jo Gill

Professor Jo Gill

Associate Dean for International and Development


01392 724256

Jo Gill is Professor of Twentieth-Century and American Literature in the Department of English. She teaches and researches in modern and contemporary English and American literature, and has particular interests and expertise in poetry, confessional and life writing, and in the cultures of the suburbs. Her most recent book, The Poetics of the American Suburbs, was published in 2013. Her article "'Quite the Opposite of a Feminist': Phyllis McGinley, Betty Friedan, and Discourses of Gender in Mid-Century American Culture" (Women's History Review, 2013) won the Arthur Miller Centre Prize for the year's best American Studies essay. She was the Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme Trust-funded "Cultures of the Suburbs International Research Network" (2011-14). Jo is now completing work on a new book entitled Modern American Poetry and the Architectural Imagination for which she was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2015-16). She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. From January 2016, she has served as Associate Dean for International & Development in the College of Humanities. 

My office is in Queen's 205.


Research interests

My research focuses on confessional and life-writing, mid-twentieth century American poetry, the literature and culture of the American suburbs and the relationship between literature (specifically poetry) and architecture. My most recent book, The Poetics of the American Suburbs, was published in 2013 by Macmillan (New York) in their "Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics" series. The research for this book was supported by awards from the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. I am a recent holder of a British Library Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship in North American Studies. I am now completing a book on modern and contemporary American poetry and architecture, supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2015-16). Previous books include Anne Sexton's Confessional Poetics (University Press of Florida 2007); Women's Poetry (Edinburgh University Press 2007) and The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath (2008). In addition, I am the editor of Modern Confessional Writing (Routledge 2006) and The Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath (Cambridge University Press 2006). I have also co-edited with Simon Barker, Literature as History (Continuum 2009) and with Mel Waters, Poetry and Life Writing (Special Issue of the journal Life Writing, 2009; reissued in book form with Routledge in 2010). I have also contributed numerous journal articles and chapters in edited collections. 

Until recently, I have been Principal Investigator on the Leverhulme Trust-funded "Cultures of the Suburbs International Research Network":


Research supervision

I have PhD students working on English and American Poetry, Life Writing, Modern American Fiction, and on the Literature of American cities and suburbs and would welcome enquiries about future graduate research in these fields.


I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and served for three years (Jan 2011-Jan 2014) as Director of Education for English. I taught at Vassar College, New York, in the spring of 2015 as part of a faculty exchange programme. I teach widely across the undergraduate and MA programme with a special interest in modern and contemporary literature, American literature and culture, poetry, and a particular enthusiasm for teaching first-year students!


Professor Jo Gill was educated at an 11-18 comprehensive in Cheshire; she completed her first degree at the University of Leicester, her MA at York University and her PhD at the University of Gloucestershire. She worked in publishing for several years before commencing research for a PhD and taking up an academic career. She specialises in modern and contemporary literature with a particular interest in confessional and life writing, mid-century American poetry, the cultures of the American suburbs and literature and architecture. She is Chair of Governors at Richard Huish Sixth Form College, Taunton.